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We were saddened to learn of the death on 8 June 2018 of Roger Pensom, Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College and formerly University Lecturer of Old French Language and Literature at the University of Oxford; he was 79. Roger was a distinguished scholar of medieval French literature (publishing monographs on La Chanson de Roland (1982), Béroul (1995), Aucassin et Nicolette (1999) and Villon (2004)) as well as a formidable linguist, making important contributions to our understanding of the historical development of rhythm in French; his most recent book is forthcoming in August with Legenda, Accent, Rhythm and Meaning in French Verse.

Roger was an immensely valued colleague, first at the University of Exeter and then at Oxford, where he was University Lecturer in French Philology and Fellow of Hertford College from 1985 to 2003. An exceptionally sharp critical mind and a charismatic lecturer, Roger was equally an exceptionally unassuming and gentle person: a generous tutor and a kind colleague, renowned for his distinctive sense of humour. His productions of medieval French plays in Hertford quad, performed in the original language, were especially popular. He was also an accomplished musician, whether playing occasional duets with student in his study on harpsichord or recorder, or singing medieval French texts in undergraduate lectures; his regular performance of the first laisse of the Chanson de Roland drew a packed house from students across the disciplines!

We offer our condolences to his family. His funeral will be held at noon on 28 June at Holy Trinity Church, Finstock, Oxfordshire.


Photo courtesy of Heather Williams: Roger (gowned) singing in the choir in his production of the Jeu de Robin et Marion in the gardens of Hertford College in Trinity Term 1992